In Santa Barbara, California, The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) run a program called Kids Do Ecology. This inquiry based program is for primary school students and includes a website and a ‘Scientists in the Classroom’ program.
Kids Do Ecology is based on the scientific method of inquiry and has a major focus on using scientific research in the real world as well as promoting the importance sharing ‘discovered’ data. In The Scientists in the Classroom program, an ecological scientist visits the classroom over multiple lessons and helps to generate and carry out a practical field of inquiry. The students conduct experiments using the scientific method and present their findings in a variety of ways.
Kids Do Ecology is good starting point for teachers searching for ideas on what scientific inquiry looks like in the classroom. As with all model programs, there are always aspects that can be changed or improved upon to suit your own school curriculum and personal teaching philosophy. I challenge teachers to start their own ‘Scientists in the Classroom’ program as a means of stimulating scientific inquiry in primary classrooms. Please share your progress when you do! firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow the links below for some Scientists in the Classroom examples.